Interrogation, Negotiation, and Subversion of Power Differentials in Community-Based Participatory Research: A Scoping Review

Online Publication Date:
June 16, 2023
Publication Status:
Awaiting Publication
Manuscript PDF File:

**Forthcoming in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP) 18.2. All rights reserved.**


Objectives: To review empirical and peer-reviewed scholarly articles incorporating CBPR approaches and examining discourses of how power differentials are interrogated, negotiated, and redressed within the partnerships using scoping review methodology following The Joanna Briggs Institute framework and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA).

Data Sources: Articles were identified across five online databases: Embase, ERIC, PsycINFO, PubMed, and Web of Science.

Review Methods: Keywords used in the search strategy were (“Community-Based Participatory Research” OR “Participatory Action Research”). Peer-reviewed scholarly articles discussing in-depth power differentials within the partnership published in English between 2010 and 2020 were included.

Results: Findings indicate scholars use critical reflexive qualitative methodologies to recognize and raise relevant questions of power issues between researchers and community stakeholders. Examination of individual biases, assumptions, and exertion of hierarchical top-down power is identified extensively. There is limited analysis on institutional and interdependent power. As a result of raising questions regarding power issues, individual actions to address emerging tensions and conflicts were reported. However, discussions on researchers’ efforts to effect institutional and structural changes to redress power imbalances were limited.

Conclusions: Building strong and equitable participatory action research collaborations between researchers and community stakeholders remains an arena of continuous struggle. This review offers some insights and relevant implications to better address power issues within participatory action research partnerships and inform the work of professionals engaged in the development, implementation, and evaluation of health promotion initiatives and policies.